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Theodore Low De Vinne

Theodore Low De Vinne

American printer and typographer
Theodore Low De Vinne
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American printer and typographer
Was Author Writer Businessperson
From United States of America
Type Business Literature
Gender male
Birth 25 December 1828, Stamford, USA
Death 16 February 1914, New York City, USA (aged 85 years)
Star sign Capricorn
The details (from wikipedia)


Theodore Low De Vinne (December 25, 1828 – February 16, 1914) was an American printer and scholarly author on typography. De Vinne did much for the improvement of American printing.

Life and career

De Vinne was born at Stamford, Connecticut, and educated in the common schools of the various towns where his father had pastorates. He developed the ability to be a printer while employed in a shop at Fishkill, New York. He worked at the Newburgh, New York Gazette, then moved to New York City. In 1849 he entered the establishment of Francis Hart, and worked there until 1883 when the business was renamed Theodore L. De Vinne & Co. In 1886, he moved to a model plant designed by him on Lafayette Place, which still stands.

De Vinne either commissioned Linn Boyd Benton, or co-designed in conjunction with Benton, the hugely popular Century Roman typeface for use by The Century Magazine, which his firm printed. For use at his own press, he also commissioned Linotype to produce De Vinne, an updated Elzevir (or French Oldstyle) type, and the Bruce Typefoundry to produce Renner, a Venetian face. However, his biographer Irene Tichenor notes that De Vinne's private correspondence shows he was not closely involved with the design of "De Vinne" and he ultimately was somewhat unhappy with the type.

He was one of nine men who founded the Grolier Club, and he was printer to the Club for the first two decades of its existence and designed and printed most of its publications during his lifetime. He was also a founder and the first president of the United Typothetae of America, a predecessor of the Printing Industries of America.


A prolific author in the periodical printing trade press, De Vinne also wrote a number of books on the history and practice of printing. For years his publications ranked at the head of American presswork. His works include:

  • The Invention of Printing (1876), an investigation of the claims of Laurens Coster to be inventor of printing with movable type, and awarding the honor to Gutenberg
  • Historic Printing Types (1886)
  • Plain Printing Types (1900) (The Practice of Typography, vol. 1)
  • Correct Composition (1901) (The Practice of Typography, vol. 2)
  • A Treatise on Title-Pages (1902) (The Practice of Typography, vol. 3), A revision of his earlier Title Pages as seen by a Printer, published by the Grolier Club in 1901
  • Modern Methods of Book Composition (1904) (The Practice of Typography, vol. 4)
  • Notable Printers of Italy during the Fifteenth Century (1910)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 05 May 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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